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Tuesday, 8 May 1973
Page: 1822

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Scholes - Order! I suggest that the honourable member come back to the clause of the Bill.

Mr LYNCH - I would suggest to the Chairman, if I may-

The CHAIRMAN - Order! For 5 minutes the honourable gentleman has been speaking away from the clause being dealt with. I ask him to observe the direction of the Chair and not to direct me on how to conduct the Committee.

Mr LYNCH - I would not seek to direct you for one moment, Mr Chairman, but I take the point that anyone who is involved in the industrial jurisdiction knows that the dynamics of power in relation to industrial disputes, and the lesson that the Labor Goverment is now learning, are very much tied up-

The CHAIRMAN - Order! I suggest to the honourable gentleman that he come back to the clause of the Bill now being debated. The second reading stage-

Mr LYNCH - If the Chairman will allow me to finish the sentence I will do that.

The CHAIRMAN - Order! The second reading debate concluded some time ago. We are now debating the detail of the clauses, and inflationary pressures and so on are hardly relevant to the clause under discussion.

Mr LYNCH - If you recall, Mr Chairman, I was referring to (he dynamics of power in the trade union movement. No one would see those dynamics of power as being in any sense irrelevant to the activities of shop stewards and trade union officials at the grass roots level. The Opposition asks the Minister for Labour and other honourable members opposite to justify this proposal in a manner in which it has not been justified during the second reading stage, and to bring forward the substantial reasons why they feel compelled to so advantage shop stewards who unfortunately have tended to become the playthings of the communists in some industries. I do not take a broad gauge brush on this. J speak responsibly to the point. Honourable members know that shop stewards in certain critical industries have become the playthings of the Communist Party which seeks for its own reasons not simply to abuse the conciliation and arbitration system but to destroy the processes which we in this debate support. No power of this type can reasonably reside in the areas in which the Government is prepared to place that power at present. I ask the Minister to ponder full well on the experience of the United Kingdom, Germany and so many other European countries because the lesson to be learned from that experience is that if we build up the grass roots level of the union movement, we do so at the peril of the elected officials at the level of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. No dispute is more uncontrollable than a dispute which is not in the hands of the senior elected officials of the union concerned. This' clause will certainly advantage considerably the shop steward area. To that extent, if you will forgive this observation, Mr Chairman, it is directly relevant to the concept of the dynamics of power in the trade union movement. This is an outrageous proposal. It is sectional and partisan in its intent and it will not redress the problems which the Government apparently believes it can resolve.

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